Thursday, June 28, 2007

Saviour-V walks out of the Blood Phoenix Sanctuary's Dining Hall, wiping his mouth with a handkerchief...

Lunch was good. Let's see if this next site is better, comrades!

The monitor's display flickers for a moment, as the URL for the next review appears...

I have to admit it, das war UNERWARTET.

Saviour-V grins slightly...

Translation? "That was UNEXPECTED." Which is what I will say for my review offer for Their offer? "Onlinespiele", which translates to "Online games". Roughly.

Now here's the catch. They expected an English review, for their German site.

Saviour-V doubles up with laughter...

Well, since a Saviour must be prepared for anything, here's the review, with some translations in a few key places.

First off, a Google translation of the main page:

"Welcomely on the side for free on-line plays and Onlinegames.

On you find a good selection of Onlinegames, which can play you directly in your Browser. All Freegames is editorialally examined and tested. They need only one java or flashfähigen Browser and already can it loose-go. There are neither a electioneering programs nor expensive memberships. All on-line plays published here are directly playable without registration. To simply times briefly forget ideally for lunch time or around the everyday life.

Much fun when playing wishes"

Translation? Lots of online games that you can play in your browser, with no memberships, registrations, or the like. Just as long as you have Macromedia Flash and Java loaded up in your browser, you can play them.

And not all of the games are in German. One gem in particular is Wings Of Fury, which is a remake of an old Amiga game of the same name. In it, you pilot an American plane, raining havoc on the Japanese in the period of World War 2.

Getting back to the site itself, the games are arranged in sections, with the top games making it to the main page. There's "Action", "Arcade", "Brettspiele" (board games), "Geschicklichkeit" (skill-based games), "Klassiker" (classic games), "Strategie" (strategy games), and for a list of all games, "Onlinespiele" lists down all the games, regardless of category. A crude design, but effective.

Saviour-V yawns slightly...

As for the games themselves, there's more Java-based games than Flash ones. And not all of them are enjoyable, for some seem to be too simplistic. Of course, if you need a quick diversion, simplicity is one way of doing it.

There's about roughly 60+ games in this site, but it seems like there hasn't been anything recent as of this time. That might change, though.

I'd say that this site is relatively average. Some design points are there, notably in the way the information is structured, but I think that this site needs more games that happen to be a bit more challenging. Also, since English-speaking visitors are expected to visit this site, a rough translation and explanation of the site would be helpful.

So, just like the other site I reviewed previously, this particular one is AVERAGE. Not too little, and not too much. And yes, there's room for improvement.

Saviour-V grins slightly...

Anyway, visit the site, and have a bit of fun on your lunch break, people!

Saviour-V teleports out, as the monitor swivels back into the hidden panel...
Saviour-V teleports back into the Sanctuary, as the monitor shows the first site that's up on today's review...

OK! The first review for today is on mac games. Specifically, Mac Games and More.

Saviour-V clears his throat...

A-hem! First things first, I don't own a Mac, but my father does, so I was hoping to use it to download a few Macintosh games from this site, but he had something on, so I'll be basing this review from another perspective.

As its title mentions, Mac Games and More focuses on Mac games, and other things. Namely:

"Mac software, hardware and peripherals including the iPod and accessories. Features a weekly pick of the best games, applications, freeware, products and more. Specializing in all things Mac like hardware, software and peripherals."

Or so goes the description in my review offer, but I'll be the judge of that, heh heh. Chances are, there'll be a chew-out in this review.

The place itself is maintained by a certain Cate Defrise. Just like GameFAQs in its earlier days,, it's a one-man show. It's been around since August 2004. A commendable effort, to say the least.

Still, the site's design does leave a few things to be desired. I mean, compared against GameFAQs, this site doesn't break down games by genre, instead, there's a weekly selection of games. But then again, Mac games aren't all this place has.

While Mac freeware and shareware games make up the "Mac Games" part of the site, Mac widgets and other Mac-useful software are part of the "and More" name of the site. Plus a few Flash games, which are relatively enjoyable, and some Mac game reviews, too.

There are a few reviews on Mac hardware and peripherals, but I saw no sign of any sections dedicated to JUST those things. The place could use a little re-organizing, if you ask me. And seriously, how can you say "And More" if there isn't any visible sign of that? Think about it.

In fact, I think I'll just say that while this site is one way of proving that there is a market for Macintosh games, hardware, and accessories, the place itself still needs work, and perhaps a helping hand or two, in terms of organizing content.

And unlike books, I won't bother with a rating, but I would say that this site is AVERAGE, at best. There really isn't anything that grabs the attention of a visitor straight from the get-go, and that can be quite bad for a place that's advocating Mac-related stuff.

Sorry, but this site's design and structure JUST doesn't attract me that much. It's a good effort, but it requires much more to make it the best.


Saviour-V walks over to the Dining Hall, while the monitor begins to bring up the next site for review...
Saviour-V teleports into the Sanctuary...

OK. Since I'm trying to improve on my review-writing, and because I'm bored right now, I'll be posting up a few game site reviews here in a moment. The first of these is Mac Games and More, and the second is a German site called

Just for reference, I'm just warming up, so I'll accept up to 5 review offers so I don't overwhelm this place, although, considering the fact that I rarely update, I doubt it's going to be overwhelmed anytime soon...^_^;;

Saviour-V snaps his fingers, and the same panel on the wall opens up to reveal the hidden monitor used during the last review. It flickers to life, and begins downloading information for the next two reviews...

I'll be back in a moment to begin reviewing those two sites. Cheerio!

Saviour-V teleports out of the Sanctuary...for the time being.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Saviour-V teleports into the Sanctuary...

Just thought I'd put up a review or two. Heck, it's a paid review on behalf of, but I'm also trying to see how far I can go with my current skills as a review author.

Saviour-V snaps his fingers, and a nearby wall slides open to reveal a monitor, which flickers to life, displaying the following information:

Book Review.

That, dear friends, explains the kind of review I'm making.

And as for WHAT I'm reviewing, it's "Birth Of An American Family", by Geoffrey Moehl II. According to the URL, its description reads:

"An inspiring true story of the birth of a new American family, as seen through the eyes of their English language tutor. The author is drawn into the lives of a Russian refugee family and discovers that they have as much to teach him as he has to teach them. Mr. Moehl’s inspiring story is especially useful to ESL teachers and those who support refugee families in their adaptation to American life."

Saviour-V grins slightly...

Let's take a look at this story closely.

As per my PDF review copy, offered graciously by the author of this book (and which my younger brother seems to have taken a shine to, from the looks of it), this is the true story of Geoffrey Moehl's efforts to welcome TWO Russian Muslim families into American society, inclusive of the trials and tribulations faced, plus laughter and tears.

Not forgetting one or two grammatical errors, Mr. Moehl, but let's not go there just yet, comrades.

First, the story itself.

Moehl begins this tale on a rather comical note: he waits for 15 minutes before he realizes that he happened to be on the wrong street. Whoop-sy. Familiar picture? Happens to anyone.

He later gets his first taste of Russian hospitality as soon as the families get settled into their new apartment: homemade bread, chocolates, and EXTREMELY HOT soup and tea.

"The soup and the tea were both so hot they were boiling. This was something I have never seen. It was not until later I realized the significance of all the food being extremely hot. In Russia, this had been a necessity as the only safe drinking water available was bottled or boiled."

Talk about a warm reception. Moehl later learns that it is customary for Russians to serve a meal to their guests, regardless of the time. Which is, in fact, almost similar to our customs here in Malaysia.

As the story goes, Anna, Lydia, Peter and Leon (not their real names), the parents of the Russian families, try to fit into American society. S-L-O-W-L-Y. Apart from the obvious language barrier, made even more difficult when their translator moves northward in search of greener pastures, they also struggled to make ends meet, and keep their families going.

A simple example of Moehl's virtue shows itself twice when he helps them with their grocery shopping: he made recommendations on what meat was safe to buy (with a little bit of help from his own wife, that is), and became fiercely protective of his newly-adopted family when the cashier very nearly rejected a check belonging to them.

Later, Anna shows Moehl her own style of courage when she tells her son, "English only, no Russian," when her son tries to explain the usage of a certain device in Russian. As Moehl puts it:

"In my opinion, Anna saying, `English only, no Russian', and completely refusing to use the virtual keyboard shows how determined she is to integrate her family into their new life."

Given that they've fled Russia for America, there's a strong feeling of wanting to belong in their new environment. As most former refugee families will tell you anywhere across the world, the tough part's adapting, but returning back home is most certainly NOT an option. And as such, language issues are but a minor obstacle, albeit a difficult one, in exchange for their new lives.

OK, now that I've whetted your appetite with a few choice pieces from this book, let me give you a few more points to ponder.

Given that this book is quite lengthy, and the fact that it's not arranged in chronological chapters or anything similar, it is a bit difficult to digest this morsel in one sitting; currently, it's my third time through, even with my speed-reading.

Also, you can't really tell how long it took for Anna's and Lydia's families to slowly adapt to life in the US of A. I mean, it is still an ongoing process, as of the time of this writing. However, a few chronological place-markers would've made it easier to get an idea of the time it would take to get used to a new home away from past sorrows.

And there were some mistakes that were likely caused by the word processor; "the Peter, Leon, and Lydia..." in page 11, for instance. They don't really affect the general story much, but given that Moehl's an English teacher, these simple mistakes may seem to affect his credibility by a very slight margin.

On a more positive note, this story tells us a few things:

1. The fact that life still has simple pleasures, such as the families gathering round the dinner table for their feast, and the kids waiting patiently for their parents to finish learning from Moehl before coming to him with their homework.

2. More importantly, that the generosity and sincerity of one person is constantly repaid many times over, even under very humble circumstances, regardless of religion.

The final verdict?

Saviour-V glances at the monitor, which displays several filled stars out of 10...

....8 and a half stars out of 10. Quite commendable.

But don't just take my word for it. Check the "Book Review" URL above to get to, and give this book a read.

The monitor folds back into the hidden panel, and Saviour-V turns to face his audience...

And with that, ladies and gents, I bid you adieu...for now.

Saviour-V bows, and teleports out of the Sanctuary a few moments later...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Saviour-V teleports into his beloved Sanctuary...

Funny, you know. Maybe I'm not as alone as I previously said.

As he says this, the Sanctuary's main hallway is filled with the soothing white light from the energy crystals that line its walls....

After so much waiting, and so much sorrow....I believe that the One Above has answered my prayers. Although I might seem too hopeful.

Saviour-V hears quiet footsteps behind him, and smiles as GemWing, his Guardian Spirit, appears behind his throne...

It has been a long time, hasn't it, GemWing? So much that your voice of reason has been silenced by the darkness of my heart?

GemWing merely nods, unable to speak for the first time in many years...

I'm so sorry for neglecting you, but perhaps your wish to become real will be fulfilled now. All that remains is my effort, and my prayers. Even though the latter seem to be few and far between.

Someone has suffered as much as you and I have, my dear Guardian Spirit. So much that her heart has bled many times over. The very same person who I've counseled many times throughout my life: Anissa. Like her, I too have had my fair share of sorrow.

It makes me realize that humans needn't be perfect, just that we do need to seek perfection as we go through life. And I hope that I can be the one for her, and that she can be the one for me.

GemWing smiles, and touches Saviour-V's shoulder. A few moments later, she begins to fade out of focus, eventually taking the shape of a glowing light blue ball of light, which floats into Saviour-V's hands.

I do hope that I will become her Saviour-V....

Saviour-V brings the glowing ball towards his chest, and winces slightly as he absorbs it into his being once more....

...and that she will become my GemWing.

Saviour-V teleports out of his Sanctuary....